Traditional wood burning stoves work by absorbing the heat into the cast-iron body of the stove, which is then radiated around the room. This means that anything close to your log burner could become very hot and may even pose a fire risk. This is why there are strict clearance guidelines set out in the Building Regulations, to ensure that any risk of fire is minimised. These include 150mm of space to the sides and rear, 225mm from the front, and making sure that any combustible materials are at least 950mm away.
But what can you put behind your wood burning stove to ensure safety for you and your property? Depending on your home, and where you’d like to place your new log burner, there are a few options available to you.
What Are Combustible Materials?
The first thing to note is your choice of material. Combustible materials cannot under any circumstances be placed behind a wood burning stove, as they pose too great a fire risk. A combustible material is anything that is not A1 Fire-Rated. Many common materials (even some furniture) are rated highly for fire resistance, and may resist flaming for some time, but materials rated A1 will not catch fire or lose their structural integrity.
So What Materials Can I Put Behind My Wood Burner?
Generally, you are safe to put the following behind your stove:
Wood fire stoves can often also come with optional heat shields or firebacks, which will help to protect the building material behind your log burner from the heat whilst it’s burning.
Can I Install My Wood Burning Stove into An Existing Fireplace?
If you’ve got an existing open fireplace, this could be the perfect spot for your new log burner. An open fireplace is a fantastic place to put a wood burner, as the chimney provides a convenient pathway to install a flue, and the masonry backing will require little to no modification. As the firebox should already be lined by fire-resistant materials such as brick, no structural changes will be necessary, just allowing for the minimum levels of clearance. Another advantage of having a brick wall behind your wood burning stove is that brick can retain heat, which will be radiated out into your home long after your stove has gone out.
Do I Need a Heat Shield or Fireback?
A common place for wood burning stoves to be installed is upstairs in the home, often in a room without an open fireplace or open masonry, which means additional measures are required to ensure safe operation. There are a number of options available on the market, such as firebacks, faux panels, and heat shields, which will allow you to place your wood burning stove where you want, and use it safely.
Faux panels are decorative backdrops made from fire resistant materials, allowing you to create a visually-striking focal point around your stove whilst keeping your home safe from the heat.
Firebacks or Heat Shields
Firebacks (also known as heat shields) are generally made from cast iron, and are placed behind or around a wood burning stove to shield surrounding materials from the heat generated by a fireplace or stove.
We hope this article has been helpful, and you now know what you need to put behind your new wood burning stove. Whilst this can sometimes make projects trickier or more expensive, it’s absolutely crucial to set your log burner up safely.